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States and divisions - Kayin state
Kayin (or Karen) state occupies eastern part of the Thaninthayi (Tenasserim) mountain range, and is bordered with Thailand's Tak and Mae Hong Son provinces on the east. Northern and eastern parts of the state are mountainous, and the low land slopes are found in the south and south-western areas that border Mon state. The Thanlyin (Salween) river runs through the middle of the state.
Kayin, Mon, Shan, Kayah, Bamar are the major groups of people living here. Main economy is agriculture and its related businesses. Rice, betelnut, ground nut, sesame, peas, beans, coffee, tea are grown. Rubber plantation are found in the southern areas. Evergreen forests cover roughly half of the region. Teak and other hard wood timber are important products of the region. Oppsoite Pha-An, on the western side the Thanlyin river there is a cement production plant in Myaing Ka Lay district.
Some of the eastern parts bordering Thailand are under the control of armed groups that are said to have been fighting the government forces. There are news (2004) that these insurgent groups have been in talks with the government for cease fire agreement and possible cooperation on the country building.
Transport and tourism
The Thanlyin river is one of the major transport routes. Double decker boats from Mawlamyaing can sail upstream to Shwegun in the north of Pha-An, the capital. Along the Ataran river boats are able to connect Kya-In-Seik-Gyi with Mawlamyaing. Visitors to Pha-An normally arrive by road from Thaton on Yangon - Mawlamyaing highway. Some tourists come by boat from Mawlamyaing.
Pha-An to Loikaw (capital of Kayah state) road passing Phapun is under the development. At the time being the mountain road is in bad condition and could be used in dry months. The road from Belin (Mon state) to Phapun seems to be in a little better shape. Pha-An and Myawaddy, the border town across Thailand's Mae Sot town, is linked by highway that takes one whole day to travel. These roads are not yet opened to foreign tourists due to security reason. However cravan groups have once or twice travelled the route Myawaddy to Kyaikhtiyo pagoda in Mon state in the past.
In the northern part of the state, the town of Thandaung has been developed to become a hill resort. There are several beautilful streams and waterfalls good for nature study and camping. Thandaung is connected to Taungoo on the Yangon - Mandalay highway. Another road from Taungoo also pass the northern Kayin state to Mawchi mines and Loikaw in Kayah state.
Like Shan and Kayah states, Kayin state offers many scenic spots comprising of hills and rivers, farmlands which have traditionally been operated organically, in addition to the local cultures. In the future, when transport, peace and communication improve people will be able to explore the unseen beauties of the state. It is important, however, for everyone to not exploit the local beauty carelessly for the sake of income money and self knowledge. Sustainable and responsible tourism that would generate income and education to the local population should be promoted.